There’s big dollars in those Marvel characters, and nobody knows that better than the company that bears the name of the co-creator of many of those characters. Stan Lee Media, the company Stan “The Man” Lee helped found in 1998, has filed a copyright infringement complaint against the Walt Disney Company claiming that they never held the copyrights to the various Marvel Comics characters from their appearances in other media, like multi-billion dollar making movies.
So to what do we owe this litigious declaration? Well, in the plaintiff’s own words:
“Defendant The Walt Disney Company has represented to the public that it, in fact, owns the copyright to these characters as well as to hundreds of other characters created by Stan Lee. Those representations made to the public by The Walt Disney Company are false.”
So let’s put aside the fact that Stan Lee created all the disputed characters long before anyone had the idea for Stan Lee Media, and leaving aside that this is not the first time that Stan Lee Media has tried to sue Marvel for back pay, and leaving aside the fact that Stan Lee Media’s been involved in more lawsuits than asbestos and tobacco combined, just what does Stan Lee Media hope to achieve with this latest suit? How about, in their words, “the maximum statutory damages allowable.” Meaning all that Avengers bling.
Somehow, I see this going about as far as previous suits by Stan Lee Media against Marvel, but putting aside all talk about creator-rights, one wonders what might happen if the company started putting as much effort into developing their own properties as it did trying to reap the profits from others’.
Source: Comic Book Movie
So you know that new Conan movie that stars the horse guy from HBO’s Game of Thrones? Yea… we enjoyed the shit out of it. No lie. We (or rather I, not sure how the other bastards feel) thought it was just as thrilling and fun as it was gory and violent. Guess I’m the only one to feel this way ’cause it… bombed. Badly. The flick cost 90+ million to make and only earned $10M opening weekend. Suffice to say, those numbers nearly meant the death of Lionsgate. They just have to limp along until March, when The Hunger Games comes out. Which we suspect will greatly fill those empty pockets.
So, Conan gets bludgeoned to the state of unconsciousness by poor box office numbers. Who’s there to kick him while he’s down? Well, Stan “The Man” Lee of course. His company ‘Stan Lee Media’ is reportedly suing the producers of the movie, claiming they still own the rights to the character and were obtained by Nu Image/Millennium Films illegally.
The lawsuit was filed in LA on August 19th, and states that the company’s bankruptcy should have stopped anyone else from purchasing the rights, especially as it’s claimed that a former lawyer for Lee’s company made an illegal deal for the rights to be transferred to Nu Image/Millennium Films, who produced the recent 3D flop. The transfer of Conan is rendered void because back in 2002, “the shares of Conan properties and all other assets of SLMI were part of a bankruptcy estate and protected from unauthorized transfer by the automatic bankruptcy stay.”
Basically, the lawsuit demands restoration of rights over the franchise and full movie profits.
OK, before we start rippin’ on old man Lee (who is busy slipping into senility) for inheriting an 80M debt, you should know ‘ Stan Lee Media’ isn’t being run by Stan Lee anymore. It’s a corporate shell of a company created by Lee that fell apart, which has since sued everyone from Stan Lee himself, Stan’s POW Entertainment, Marvel, Lee’s Wife, and Lee’s Daughter, in attempts to gain control of characters created by Lee.